Is This the Ugliest Food Truck In Town?
Photos by Katharine Shilcutt
That doesn't stop some folks from thinking so, however (and -- hey -- beauty is subjective by its very nature). Owners Matt Opaleski and Jason Hill are sensitive about this fact, and often turn to Twitter when their pride has been wounded.
"Our ugly ass truck is @ArtLeagueHousto @InversionMtrose," the team wrote today. "Thanks to another Blogger, we now know we have the ugliest truck on the StrEATs." Over lunch at H-Town StrEATs later that afternoon, I asked Opaleski who'd been calling his truck "ugly," and he demurred about "some blogger named Cody. I don't know if it's a male or female."
The cartoon heads on the side of the truck have a deeper backstory than you may realize.
Here at EOW, we're even guilty of knocking the big white truck's aesthetic. Wrote blogger Stacy Zane back in June: "This is certainly not the snazziest-looking of the food trucks out there." Comments about "ugly" food trucks in town aren't just limited to H-Town StrEATs references, however. The most recent knock I could find was of new-ish truck Stick It; a blogger called it "plain and kind of ugly."
I couldn't turn up anything about Cody's remarks about Hill and Opaleski's truck with a Google search, but I do know that people do think their truck is -- ahem -- less than attractive. I just don't know why. More to the point, I don't know why it would matter.
Fried avocado taco: Bliss for under $5.
All that matters to me in a food truck is the food. It's not a restaurant, people; I'm not here for the ambiance. I'm here to get some good grub on the go.
And -- as one of the elder statesmen of Houston's food truck scene -- H-Town StrEATs has its gourmet truck food down to a fine, foie-covered science. Its longevity means something else equally important for food-on-the-run: Hill and Opaleski work fast, delivering your food to you in only a few short minutes.
After all, who cares about the odd little cartoon faces -- whether you find them ugly or cute -- painted on the side of the truck when fried avocado tacos or bone marrow balls are being handed to you from its window?
Either way, fans and detractors won't be able to look at those little cartoon faces much longer -- and that, to me, is a shame. After all, they were lovingly painted by local artist Lane Hagood, who was most recently honored as the 2010 winner of the Hunting Art Prize. (That's a pretty big goddamned deal, FYI, and comes with a $50,000 purse.) H-Town StrEATs has been contracted by Dos Equis to make gourmet tacos through Cinco de Mayo, and the beer giant is paying for an all-new Dos Equis-themed wrap as well as a new paint job when the gig is over.
"She's going to the prom," laughed Opaleski of his beloved food truck. But will they be able to keep the same design when it's time for the new paint job? Unlikely, says Opaleski. At least not one that involves Hagood.
"I think he's a little out of our price range now."
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